Now we see a side of Joseph that we really haven’t seen before. We see a Joseph who is totally in charge and in control and is able to do whatever he wants to his brothers. Notice that in vs. 9 it states that Joseph remembered his dream about his brothers, especially as they came and bowed down to him. He realizes at that point that the dream that he had, had come to fruition. Well, almost all of it at least. He still hasn’t seen his dad come down, and that was part of his dream. I love his father telling his brothers: Why are you guys just standing around staring at each other? Go down to Egypt and get some grain.
Once Joseph greets his brothers he realizes that the safest place for them to be would be in Egypt with him, but he is not quite ready to confront his brothers and tell them who he was. So he sets up a trap in order to ensure that they would all come to Egypt. He accuses them of being spies. They aren’t, of course, but it is the only way to get his whole family down. When they see that they are going to be thrown into prison and will only be able to escape by keeping one of them in prison, they think they are being punished for what they did to Joseph. They feel as if God is punishing them for that. I wonder how many times they use that as a reason for why something has gone bad in their lives. Maybe each time that something has gone wrong they say: This is God again punishing us for what we did to Moses.
Do you find yourself beating yourself up time and time again for a mistake that you have made in your life. Here is an encouragement to ask forgiveness, make amends, and move on. They have done none of that and so are prisoners to their guilt and their past. Simeon is bound before them and placed into prison. Remember, Simeon is the one that had the idea of slaughtering the circumcised Hivites to get vengeance on the rape of their sister. Jacob was not very happy with Simeon, so maybe it wasn’t much of a loss to him. In fact, we read later on that Simeon stays in Egypt quite some time before they come to reclaim him, and it actually isn’t until they get really hungry again. We end the chapter with Jacob refusing to send Benjamin down to Egypt.